Sota Fujii wins shogi’s Ryuo crown, youngest to hold four major titles

Shogi prodigy Sota Fujii won the most prestigious Ryuo championship Saturday with a four-game sweep of Masayuki Toyoshima, making him, at 19 years and 3 months, the youngest player in history to hold four major titles.

Fujii, who entered the best-of-seven series as the challenger to the 31-year-old Toyoshima in early October, earned the winning prize of ¥44 million ($386,000), the highest among the traditional board game’s eight major titles.

He broke the previous youngest record set by Yoshiharu Habu, who held four major titles in 1993 at 22 years and 9 months before sweeping the seven majors that existed in 1996.

“I am honored to win the best title of all,” Fujii said. “I want to live up to this Ryuo status. I have produced results, but I have found things I need to work on, so I will try to improve.”

Game 4 of the Ryuo series was played over two days in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The three other titles Fujii owns are Kisei, Oi and Eio.

Fujii defeated Toyoshima, who used to be his nemesis, for the third time in as many championships this year.

The young prodigy has broken numerous age-related records, turning pro at 14 years and 2 months and capturing his first major title, Kisei, in July 2020 at 17 years and 11 months.

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